Dear friends and followers,
Today is a weird day for me. It’s the Feast of the Epiphany, the second anniversary of the insurrection and the 20th anniversary of my dad’s passing. He would have been 94 this April.
Although he’s been gone 20 years, I think of my dad regularly. He taught me to appreciate good food, family time, fun, and friends. As a high school principal, he was very strict with us and demanded good grades. If he said (disappointingly), “You can do better than that”, you knew you were in trouble.
Despite his strict stance on education, one of his best qualities was his sense of humor. He was always cracking a joke or occasionally a prank. My daughters would have loved how silly he was. This is one of my favorite memories of him:
I lived at home during college. My parents had five kids and were living on one salary, so we didn’t have a lot of money for college. This is one of the reasons I hate food waste so much. You couldn’t leave a pea on your plate at my house!
I studied nutrition at Youngstown State University and commuted to school. One day I mentioned that I had a big anatomy test that I needed to study for.
My dad suggested I drink coffee in the evening to help me stay up late to study. “Good idea”, I told him. I had never drunk coffee and started drinking it after dinner.
A few days after the test, my dad asked how the test went and if the coffee helped. “Great! I got an A. That coffee really kept me up to study!” His response? “You know, Lisa- we drink decaf”.
Thank you, Dad for my love of coffee!
My dad and I also shared a love of words. He was a big crossword puzzle fan, and I have been a freelance writer for many years. I wish I could share my food puns with him because many were inspired by my dad. Deja brew, This. Is. The Wurst. Praise Cheeses, Oh. My. Gouda. Bada bing, Pearfecto, etc. I know he’d get a kick out these.
If you’re a word nerd, need a good laugh or want to share one with others, check out Lettuce Beet Hunger Food Pun Shop | Sound Bites Nutrition . Food has always been a central part of my life and I see it as a perfect way to connect people. Part of proceeds goes to programs that fight food insecurity in Cincinnati. Food is meant to be shared.
Use code Flash25 to take 25% off all food pun merch til midnight tonight. RIP Dad. I love you.
Cheese and thanks,
I feel like I blinked and summer changed to fall. I have to admit, it is my favorite thyme of the year! From apples to squash, I love fall produce and the anticipation of Halloween. I’m also a big fan of Oktoberfest as my husband and I got married that weekend and celebrate Cincinnati’s festival it every year.
This Oktoberfest season, I was invited to Sonder Brewing for their Oktoberfest It was a cool fall day filled with brew hahas, a “root beer run” for the kids and official stein holding competition. While it may not have been Munich, it was still lots of fun. Munich is on the bucket list, by the way.
I couldn’t help but make a special tee shirt for the event! It’s difficult to pun about beer, but I came up with Twist n’ stout. It was a hit for Oktoberfest! You can find them locally in Cincinnati at Morsel & Nosh or purchase one online. Available in short or long sleeves!
If you buy online, buy as little or as much as you like with free shipping til the end of October. No code needed! As always, part of proceeds go towards programs that help fight food insecurity such as La Soupe Cincinnati and About Us | Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen and Social Center
Message me for size, color or other queries. I can add designs to other items as requested. Still freely shipped this month.
Be well and enjoy this fun season.
Lisa (AKA Nutrigirl)
PS Follow me on IG Lisa Cicciarello Andrews (@nutrigirl) • Instagram photos and videos
Mid to late September makes me a little wistful as summer ends, but ‘eggcited’ that fall is right around the corner. I love the end of the year produce, including tomatoes, melon and squash, but look forward to apples, pears and more leafy greens. I’m also OK with using pantry staples to create simple meals.
Oatmeal is one of my favorite foods. I like overnight oats, but really prefer the taste, texture and warmth of hot oatmeal. Oatmeal is an excellent grain to include in your diet. In addition to being a good source of soluble fiber (which helps lower bad cholesterol) and manage blood sugar), rolled oats have been found to help reduce appetite. They’re also a source of B vitamins, and inexpensive and versatile to use.
If you’re thinking that “old fashioned oats” take too long to cook, think again. You can whip up rolled oats in the microwave in 2 minutes. If you can spare one minute on instant oats, you can certainly spend 2 minutes on rolled oats. While they may have roughly the same fiber and calorie content, rolled oats are less processed, have zero sodium and no added sugar. Those little packs of instant oats pack 3 teaspoons of sugar and up to 200 mg of sodium per pack. Hard pass!
I made the recipe below with 3 ingredients including a little something spicy. My gal pal Barbie Hahn created this overnight sensation she dubs, “That dam jam”. Like me, Barbie is a foodie and enjoys simple, delicious ingredients. Her jam is no exception. She will tell you, “It’s nothing special”, but it really is! Barbie is the quintessential host. She creates beautiful trays of goodies and charcuterie and serves her delicious pineapple jam with cream cheese as a sweet and savory spread.
Her “sweet with a little heat” jam became so popular as a holiday and housewarming gift, her friends and family urged her to launch it commercially. It’s a really versatile jam that can be used in appetizers, main dishes with meat or hey- why not breakfast?
I combined rolled oats, unsweetened coconut and “That Dam Jam” for breakfast this morning. So. Dam. Easy! I hope you enjoy it as the weather changes from summer to fall in the next few days. Feel free to adjust the recipe to make more for a crowd.
You can find That Dam Jam at several markets around Cincinnati and Kentucky: SHOP LOCAL | That Dam Jam
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup water
1 teaspoon unsweetened coconut flakes
1 Tablespoon That Dam Jam (pineapple habanero)
- Place the rolled oats, water and unsweetened coconut in a microwave safe bowl. Stir to combine.
- Cover the bowl with a microwave safe lid and cook the oats for 2 minutes.
- Remove the oats from the microwave and stir in That Dam Jam.
- Allow to cool for a minute, then enjoy with gusto!
Makes 1 serving. Nutrition facts per serving: 211 calories, 37 grams carbs, 4.8 grams fiber, 4.1 grams fat, 5.6 grams protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 2.4 mg sodium
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Nutrigirl is no stranger to carb consciousness. In addition to being a dietitian who counsels clients with diabetes, pre-diabetes, and weight management, I also have to deal with a familial condition of pre-diabetes myself. My father had diabetes from the time he was 40 and my mother developed it later in life. I was not surprised to find out my glucose was elevated 5 years ago.
To be clear, carbs are not the “enemy”. Our diet needs carbs for adequate energy, fiber, and B vitamins. Carbohydrates (AKA carbs) are found naturally in all grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, beans, lentils, and dairy products.
Added sugars in soda, sports drinks, desserts, and candy are less healthy carbs we should limit in our diet. Excess intake is linked with higher rates of chronic disease including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Unless a protein is breaded, most meat, fish, pork, and poultry products have zero carbs.
Whether carbs come from natural sources or are added to foods as sweeteners, both will raise blood sugar. Carbs break down into glucose, which our bodies either use for energy, store as glycogen or change to fat if too much is consumed. Reducing carbs of all types has some health benefits.
Cutting back on carbs is an effective way to manage and control blood sugar. Recent research shows that compared to traditional calorie-controlled diets, limiting carbs may aid in diabetes prevention and reversal. Reducing carbs in your diet is also associated with weight loss and potentially longevity.
Often, one of the first things a person with diabetes (or prediabetes) does is cut out bread. This is one of the saddest things to hear as a food lover! Yes, bread has carbs, but there are a handful on the market that have been formulated with less. Let’s take a look at a few new ones.
Aunt Millie’s out of Ft. Wayne, Indiana is no stranger in the bread aisle. Their company has been around for 120 years and features everything from bread to buns to rolls. Their latest line “Live Carb Smart” includes three varieties of breads as well as hamburger and hot dog buns. For the purpose of this review, I’ll focus on their white bread.
For starters, the loaf looks like regular bread. The slices are uniform in size with the heel of the bread being slightly smaller. Each slice contains 45 calories and just .5 grams of fat. The sodium content is low at just 115 mg per slice. The bread is fortified with vitamin D and contains 10% of the Daily Value, which is considered a “good” source of the nutrient.
The carb count is 12 grams per slice of which 6 are net carbs. The slices contain 6 grams of dietary fiber, which is subtracted out of the total carb count to yield the net carbs. Like other low-carb bread, it has no added sugar. The texture is soft and it tastes like regular bread! The bread toasted up nicely.
Doh Joy is a new Cincinnati-based company. Its white bread is dubbed “keto-friendly” and would be appropriate for individuals with diabetes or others limiting the carbs in their diet. Like Aunt Millie’s, it has no added suga.and its base is made from modified wheat starch and wheat protein isolate.
The protein content is 5 grams per 40-calorie slice. Doh Joy boasts 30% more fiber than Aunt Millie’s: 9 grams per slice versus 6 grams. Their net carb count is also lower, 1 gram per slice instead of 6 with Aunt Millie’s. Doh Joy contained less potassium than Aunt Millie’s, making it a good choice for individuals on a low potassium diet, such as renal patients (kidney disease).
The taste and texture of Doh Joy are similar to Aunt Millie’s, but a little chewier. Both of the breads toasted up well and had a mild, “white bread” taste. Doh Joy contains 1.5 grams of fat per slice, compared to Aunt Millie’s .5 grams per serving. Doh Joy does not contain vitamin D.
The Bottom Slice
If you’re looking to reduce carbs in your diet, please don’t completely cut out bread. What fun is that? You certainly can’t make a sandwich or French toast without bread! If carbs are your concern, Doh Joy is lower than Aunt Millie’s with most of the other ingredients being close in comparison. It certainly gives Aunt Millie’s a run for the money.
I received samples of both breads for this comparison but was not paid for the review. To find either of the breads online, visit: Baking Memories From Our Family to Yours – Aunt Millie’s (auntmillies.com)
DohJoy Under 1 Net Carb Keto Friendly White Bread
Farm-raised fish often gets a bad rap. Visions of polluted, contaminated water overflowing with crowded fish may be what you’re thinking of. It’s time to think again!
Not all fish farms are the same. I was fortunate to receive samples of seriously tasty salmon from Superior Fresh in Wisconsin. Superior Fresh is no ordinary fish farm. They use regenerative agriculture to provide the most delicious food while sparing the planet.
Superior Fresh uses soil regeneration and habitat preservation by recycling nearly 100% of the water used to grow 30 times more food per acre than traditional farms. In addition, they grown 5 pounds of salmon and an extra 25 pounds of organic vegetables for every 5 pounds of fish food. That’s a lot of food!
Their aquaponic ecosystem works in harmony. Atlantic salmon lives in water that fuel their leafy greens, which in turn purify the water and send it back to the fish. Their fish are fed an organic diet, which are non-GMO, pesticide free, hormone free, antibiotic free and delicious! On top of that, their Atlantic salmon has twice as much omega-3-fatty acids as traditional salmon.
I’ve been paying attention to my omega-3-fatty acid intake for a reason. Omega-3 fats are PUFAS (polyunsaturated fatty acids) that are linked with the reduction of risk of heart disease, dementia, and also depression. Sadly, no pun intended, all of these conditions run in my family. My father had diabetes which led to heart disease. My mother has dementia and suffered with depression throughout her life. Prevention is key to all of these chronic conditions.
Omega-3-fatty acids are found in fatty fish, including salmon as well as ground flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, soybean and canola oil. Most of us don’t consume enough in our diets. Fish oil supplements also provide these healthy fats- ask your doctor or dietitian if they’re right for you. While my diet may not be perfect (whose is?), I really want to keep my heart healthy and brain sharp as I age.
Superior Salmon with Peach Salsa
There are SO many tasty ways to make salmon that I got overwhelmed looking at recipes. Samon can be baked, broiled, air fried, pan fried or grilled. Summer in Cincinnati means grilling, so I opted for a simple marinade. Summer also means peach season. I was happy to have all the ingredients I needed on hand. Well, most of them.
Most fish marinades use lemon or lime juice, which makes sense. Both add refreshing flavor and help to tenderize the fish. I was out of both but did have a few mandarin oranges on hand. Problem solved. The fish can also be baked at 375 for 13 to 15 minutes.
1 Tbsp. avocado, olive or canola oil
Juice of 1 mandarin orange
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
2 skin-on fillets of Superior Fresh salmon
2 ripe peaches
1/2 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 Tbsp. diced red onion
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
Juice of 1/2 of a mandarin orange
pinch of salt
- Combine the avocado oil, mandarin juice, cumin, paprika and salt. Place 2 pieces of salmon in a Ziplock bag then pour the marinade over the fish. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the peaches, jalapeno peppers, red onions, and cilantro. Drizzle mandarin juice over the mixture and toss to coat. Add a pinch of salt to taste.
- Pre-heat the grill for 10 to 15 minutes. Grill each side for 4 to 5 minutes until desired doneness.
- Serve the salmon with a few tablespoons of peach salsa.
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It’s nearly National Nutrition Month!
National Nutrition Month happens every March. It’s the month that food and health professional geek out about fruits, veggies and all things food and health. Recipes, research, retail. It’s great to see our profession recognized in the science field along with nurses and other healthcare professionals.
What we do
Dietitians and NDTRS (dietetic technicians) are not just in clinical settings. We work in food service, hospitality, community nutrition, education, long term care, research, retail and consulting. It’s great to have so many ways to share our nutrition knowledge and expertise with the public.
RDN VS Nutritionist?
I’ve been asked many times if a registered dietitian is the same as a nutritionist. Yes and No. A registered dietitian has a minimum of a 4-year degree, has completed a comprehensive, accredited, dietetic internship and has passed a rigorous credentialing exam. In addition, we maintain 75 hours of continuing education every 5 years in the field. We may also go by the name nutritionist. We must be licensed (in most states) to practice MNT (Medical Nutrition Therapy)- which is the ability to counsel people on medical conditions like thyroid disease, diabetes, gut health and the like.
A nutritionist does not necessarily have a degree in nutrition and may or may not be an RD. It could be someone that’s done an online credential in health coaching or someone that works in a smoothie shop. They may have a degree in nutrition but hasn’t completed all the steps to becoming a registered dietitian. A personal trainer may call themselves “nutritionist” but in all honestly, should NOT be dishing out nutrition advice, especially when it comes to medical conditions.
When in doubt, look for the credential RD or RDN after a person’s name if you’re seeking nutrition counseling for a medical condition. A person that states they’re an expert in pregnancy because they’ve been pregnant is not the same as someone who has worked with thousands of women providing nutrition counseling.
Celebrating National Nutrition Month (NNM)
One way to celebrate NNM is to wear fun nutrition clothes! Years ago, I worked for a community agency called the Nutrition Council. We participated in the St. Patrick’s Day parade wearing apple, banana and tomato costumes. As the parade has been on hold with the pandemic, those days are long gone.
However- you can still dress in fund foodie clothes for the month of March (and beyond)! Now’s the ‘thyme’ to get your tees, totes, mugs and more for yourself or colleagues for National Nutrition Month. These make great gifts for interns, students, colleagues or for yourself!
Now through Monday, Feb 7, use code NNM22 and take 22% off all food pun swag. Got a pregnant co-worker? I’ve got your covered with adorable onesies. Need a one-size fits all? Go for a coffee mug or tote. No sizing whisk involved!
Whatever you ‘chews’, part of the proceeds will go towards programs that support food insecurity. It’s my way of giving back to my community. Everyone deserves to eat well throughout the year. Help me with this effort during National Nutrition month!